Routine HIV testing for teenagers in high-risk areas is now being proposed by the American Academy of Pediatrics.  The proposal was made in a study, “Adolescents and HIBV Infection,” published in the group’s journal, Pediatrics.

Because of the growing incidence of HIV/AIDS in urban working-class communities, Black and Latino teenagers would be the primary targets of such testing. The proposal calls for “routine screening at urgent-care clinics and emergency departments in high-prevalence areas. And it argues any teen tested for a sexually transmitted disease (STD) should automatically receive an HIV test.”

Any area where the HIV infection rate is over 0.1 percent would be included, according to the proposal. Most urban centers are in this category.

The Center for Disease Control has called for universal testing of all patients between the ages of 16 and 64. However, the U.S. Public Health Service has not endorsed the proposal.

According to doctors also did not follow suit with testing because of “cost effectiveness,” hinting that insurance companies might have balked at payment.

Health care legislation passed by Congress and now before the Supreme Court, might alleviate payment for such testing as an issue.

Commenting on the report, Dr. Patricia Emmanuel, a co-author of the report, told Time, “HIV is not just a grown-up disease. The greatest increase is in young gay men, mostly ethnic minorities. Many are 16, 17 and 18. They are not 13, but they are teenagers.”

A recent UN study says worldwide the AIDS death rate has dropped by 21 percent from its height. Thirty four million people are now living with the illness.

The UN says more funding is needed to maintain the decrease in infection rates. Resources, however, are drying up. The LA Times writes: “The humanitarian organization, Doctors Without Borders said that while dramatic increases in funding were needed, contributions were falling. Donor funding for AIDS prevention declined $ 7.6 billion in 2009 to $6.9 billion in 2010.”

Scientists now believe the tools are available to control the AIDS pandemic. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton recently gave a speech on the subject to the National Institute of Health. In the speech, Secretary Clinton called for the first “AIDS free generation” since the beginning of the pandemic.

“The goal of an AIDS-free generation is ambitious, but it is possible,” remarked Mrs. Clinton.



Joe Sims
Joe Sims

Joe Sims is co-chair of the Communist Party USA. He is also a senior editor of People's World and loves biking.